Auto Tek 
4313 Gillis St  Austin,TX 78745 
Auto Tek
4313 Gillis St
AustinTX 78745
 (512) 326-3881
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How to Clean Foggy or Dim Headlights

How to Clean Foggy or Dim Headlights

Have you noticed recently that you're not able to see as well at night as you could in the past? While you could simply need glasses, the more likely scenario is that your vehicle's headlights are suffering from oxidation and are getting foggy or hazy. This dangerous situation can seriously inhibit your nighttime visibility, which is a critically important safety feature for your vehicle. Keep your lights bright and your way clear with easy tips to clean dim or foggy headlights. 

Why Headlights Dim

The lights on the front of your vehicle come out of the showroom with crystal clear plastic and a bright corona of light. Over time, ultraviolet light, chemicals in the atmosphere and even road debris can cause a headlight to lose its luster. This cloudiness is called oxidation, and it naturally happens to plastic or polycarbonate headlights over time. If you've diligently cleaned each headlight and you still see a fog over the plastic, then it's likely that you'll need to take additional measures to get back to full visibility at night.

Clean or Replace?

It can be difficult to tell whether you should clean or replace your headlights. When in doubt, try cleaning them first! There are a variety of different solutions that work to clean your headlights, such as toothpaste, polishing compound, glass cleaner plus automotive polish and more. However, since most people have toothpaste around the house, this option is a great way to start. Only look to replace your headlights if a thorough cleaning doesn't do the trick to remove the haze.

There are a variety of different solutions that work to clean your headlights, such as toothpaste, polishing compound, glass cleaner plus automotive polish and more. However, since most people have toothpaste around the house, this option is a great way to start.

Toothpaste: Not Just for Teeth

You may be surprised to learn that the recommended method for clearing the fog off of your headlights is humble toothpaste, but it is! The same way toothpaste gently scrubs stains from your teeth and gums, it can also remove road dirt and other grime from your lights.

  • Gather your tools: masking tape, toothpaste, a soft cloth, and water is all you will need.
  • Cover the area surrounding your headlights with masking tape to avoid scratching the finish on your vehicle. 
  • Gently squeeze about an inch-long line of toothpaste on to your soft cloth
  • Use the toothpaste-laden cloth to firmly rub large circles over your headlights, similar to the way you would apply or remove wax
  • Take your time and use the toothpaste to scrub for several minutes per light
  • Remove any excess toothpaste, and rinse each headlight with fresh water and allow it to air dry

That's it! With any luck, your headlights will be clean and shiny and ready for the road. 

Want to learn more about staying safe on the road? Check out our recent blog on checking the life of your tires. At Auto Tek, we are always looking for ways to educate our customers about their vehicles and maintenance options. Give us a call today at 512-326-3881 to make an appointment for maintenance or to learn more.